Note: These are profiles No. 17 through 23 in a series of 90 stories highlighting individuals who have shaped Notre Dame and/or live the College’s mission of personal, professional and global responsibility.
By Julie DiBiasio
This installment of our 90 Stories series is dedicated to the seven graduates who received the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award since its inception in 2006. The recipients were chosen by the College president and his staff. Throughout their time at Notre Dame, they demonstrated honesty and trustworthiness, a commitment to excellence, and selfless service to Notre Dame and the larger community.
These qualities were evident in the life and service of Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche, after whom the award is named. As the first dean and third president of Notre Dame College, Sr. Mary Agnes played a critical role in the establishment of Notre Dame College. She built the academic and student life of the College and promoted a culture that enabled students to take ownership of their spiritual and social activities.
An Educator Shaped by Notre Dame
|Nicholas Somich ’06|
An outstanding student and active member of the campus community, Nicholas Somich ’06 was the inaugural recipient of the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award.
Achieving the Dean’s List each semester, Somich double majored in English and secondary education with a concentration in integrated language arts. During his four years at Notre Dame he was very active on campus as a residence assistant, peer tutor, member of the orientation team, editor of the student newspaper Notre Dame News, and member of the choir. Upon graduation, he became a member of Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic Honors Society, and was recognized by Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Somich, who later received his master’s degree in composition studies from The University of Akron, currently teaches English at Mayfield High School. He believes his education at Notre Dame shaped him to become the educator he is today.
“NDC has shaped me as a teacher, husband and man,” Somich said. “My education courses helped me with my confidence, as I know what it means to be supportive, helpful and a hardworking educator.”
In addition to his fulltime teaching position, Somich also works for WELW Radio 1330 AM, writing and voicing the morning sports report during high school football and basketball season. He continues to stay active in the community specifically with his church, St. John of the Cross in Euclid, Ohio, where he is a Eucharisticminister. He has also spent time as a leader in the youth minister program.
Somich currently resides in Mentor, Ohio, with his wife Tessa Bluntzer ’08.
A Perfect Fit
|Christian Taske ’07|
In a way the Sisters of Notre Dame were responsible for Christian Taske ’07 finding his way to Notre Dame from a small village in Northern Germany in 2004. His girlfriend at the time, whom he married in 2009, suggested he attend NDC because of its soccer program. The couple had met three years earlier when Tricia, a Regina High School student, spent a semester in Taske’shometown, which housed another high school run by the Sisters.
Taske quickly realized the College was the perfect choice for him. Pursuing a bachelor’s in communication, he had no trouble studying in a foreign language. In fact, he graduated summa cum laude and received the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award in 2007.
Taske was accepted into Kappa Gamma Pi and recognized by Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. His academic strength also earned him athletic honors, as he was named a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2006. He was also the chief editor of the Notre Dame News, which was named Club of the Year in 2006.
After graduation, Taske obtained his Master of Science in Journalism at the Journalism School at Columbia University in New York City. He returned to Notre Dame in 2009, when he accepted the position of college editor and writer. Taske, whose title has since changed to director of print and digital communications, is in charge of the College’s magazine Notre Dame Today. He also writes press releases and features for NotreDameCollege.edu, edits several College newsletters, and maintains NDC’s social media accounts. For the past five semesters, he has also taught news and media writing at Notre Dame.
“I felt welcome the moment I stepped onto campus in 2004,” Taske said. “The faculty, staff and fellow students created a learning environment I was able to thrive in. That sense of community still exists today and makes Notre Dame such a great institution to work for.”
Committed to Campus & Community
|Kristy Stefanski McKibben ’08|
Her selfless commitment to campus and community service made Kristy Stefanski McKibben ’08an easy choice for the recipient of the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award.
During her four years at Notre Dame, the Monroe, Mich., native was involved in FalconCorps, a service program operated by Campus Ministry, which enabled her to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and United Way. In addition to spending her free time serving the community, McKibben was a member of the Falcons’ volleyball team, a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions, a peer tutor in the College’s Dwyer Learning Center, a student representative on the College’s Judicial Review Board, and an intern for Campus Ministry.
While participating in this many extracurricular activities, the business management major maintained her standing on the Dean’s List throughout her four years at Notre Dame College. Upon graduation she was accepted into Kappa Gamma Pi and recognized by Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. She also qualified as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Volleyball Scholar in 2006 and 2007.
McKibben currently resides in Troy, Ohio, with her husband and fellow Notre Dame graduate Nate McKibben ’06. After working as a sales representative for Qwizdom, a provider of classroom and audience response systems or “clickers,” she recently accepted a position at Lastar, a leading manufacturer of low-voltage cabling and connectivity solutions, in Dayton, Ohio.
From Notre Dame to Notre Dame
|Philomena Meluch ’09|
As a student Philomena “Philly” Meluch ’09 displayed a work ethic and made contributions to the College community that exemplified the qualities associated with the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award.
Meluch graduated Notre Dame with a 3.9 GPA as an English major with a pre-law emphasis who also earned minors in philosophy and history. While attending NDC, she shaped campus life through her many extracurricular activities. In 2008, she founded Justice, a student-run social justice organization. The group hosted an “Africa Awareness Week” highlighting issues of child soldiers, genocide and AIDS. In addition, Meluch implemented and organized Notre Dame’s first fair trade sale that featured 15 local and international organizations. She also worked as an assistant to the dean of student affairs and as a tutor in the Dwyer Learning Center.
Upon graduation, Meluch was accepted into Kappa Gamma Pi and was recognized by Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. She then went to the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor with a focus on environmental law this past May.
The newlywed was recently offered a job at a law firm in Pepper Pike and is studying furiously for the bar exam. She continues to be involved in the community and was recently appointed as an executive committee member of the University of Notre Dame Law Alumni Club of Cleveland.
“I don’t give the nuns at NDC the credit they deserve,” Meluch said. “They shaped the way I look at the world and instilled in me the belief that I can be great, and that with that greatness I can make the world a better place. The University of Notre Dame preaches those same values, the values that dictate every aspect of my life.”
Walking into Hearts & Minds
|Michael Mannozzi ’10|
Whether he is on or off the track, former Falcon Michael Mannozzi ’10 exhibits a commitment to excellence in all aspects of this life. During his four years at Notre Dame, Mannozzi walked into the hearts and minds of his classmates, professors and administrators – quite literally.
Displaying a relentless passion and commitment not only for his studies but also the sport of race walking, Mannozzi became the first national champion in the College’s track and field history in 2010. The two-time All-American also received the Champions of Character Award at the 2009 NAIA National Track and Field Championships for demonstrating integrity, respect, sportsmanship, responsibility and servant leadership.
His dedication to success and his compassion for others made Mannozzi the perfect recipient of the 2010 Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. He displayed an openness and kindness that brought out the best in his peers at Notre Dame.
The education major served as the sports editor for the Notre Dame News, the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, a senior class senator, a member of the poetry club, and a resident advisor.
After graduation, Mannozzi moved back to his hometown of Boardman, Ohio, and dedicated his time to race walking. Since then, he represented the USA at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico; qualified for the 20k and 50k races of the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 2012 Games in London; and won several national race walking events. His dream is to qualify for 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Notre Dame was the first place that really gave me a chance to grow. The community embraced me as a person. It was something like I’ve never known in my life,” Mannozzi said. “Notre Dame helped me chase my dreams.”
Living Dignity, Respect & Understanding
|Anshawn Ivery ’11|
The 2011 Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award recipient, Anshawn Ivery ’11, demonstrated selfless service to Notre Dame and the larger community during his time at NDC.
Ivery served in some capacity to almost every department at the College. He worked on the judicial board, was a student ambassador for admissions, a resident assistant and a board member for the FalconCorps Leadership Council. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and worked with the vice president for mission effectiveness to develop the Freshmen Seminar.
Ivery was also involved in the political landscape, serving as treasurer of the College’s Undergraduate Student Government and volunteering for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He is active in the community as a youth minister at his church and a mentor with the Teens After God program. He is also a certified leadership coach and an activist against bullying, holding presentations for teens, parents, college students and teachers.
Demonstrating a commitment to excellence, Ivery graduated Notre Dame College cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mild-Moderate Intervention with a reading endorsement and a minor in philosophy. He continues to serve the Notre Dame community by volunteering with the Office of Admissions for special events.
Ivery is currently working as an intervention specialist at Entrepreneurship Preparatory School. In addition, he is working towards his master’s degree in higher education with a focus on student learning and success. He believes his experience at Notre Dame, especially the personal attention he received from professors and staff, guided him to this career path.
“I was given an exceptional education, which has helped me blossom in my current career,” Ivery said. “Outside of the classroom, Notre Dame has shaped core values of integrity, responsibility and service. It taught me to live a life of dignity, respect and understanding.”
A Leader on Campus
|Erin McGrath ’12|
The 2012 recipient of the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award, Erin M. McGrath ’12, graduated Notre Dame College summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Management Information Systems. She was able to graduate with honors in just three years.
In those three years, McGrath proved she embodied the qualities associated with the Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award. She held several cabinet positions in the Undergraduate Student Government including president, vice president and secretary. In these positions, McGrath worked hard to get students involved in campus projects, activities and initiatives.
McGrath also put her leadership skills on display as co-president of the Delta Alpha Pi National Honors Society for students with learning differences. As a member of the College’s Campus Ministry Leadership Team and as an intern in the Campus Ministry Office, she led three volunteer trips during which students helped to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. In addition, McGrath was the site coordinator for an income tax preparation organization on campus that completed 551 tax returns at no charge for low-income community members.
In addition to her accomplishments at Notre Dame, McGrath owns her own business breeding pedigreed guinea pigs. She is a national guinea pig judge and has co-authored two books published by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.
McGrath earned a full scholarship to John Carroll University, where she is in pursuit of her MBA. Her goal is to be a chief financial officer or hold a top executive position in a company. She wants to be involved in making strategic decisions that facilitate a company’s goals and objectives.
Julie DiBiasio is the college communications assistant at Notre Dame College.